29sep08-TJA condemns the shooting of Matichon reporter in Suphanburi

Statement of Thai Journalists Association

September 29 2008

TJA condemns the shooting of Matichon reporter in Suphanburi

In reference to a blatant and barbaric killing of Matichon reporter Jaruek Rangcharoen, 46, in Suphanburi province on 27 September, Thai Journalists Association (TJA) condemns this act of terror and those behind the killing.

Jaruek was shot several times at his head while he was buying food in the market on his way home at No.1491 Moo 5, Don Chedi Sub-District, Don Chedi District. The shooting is believed to have been linked to his reporting on the corruption within in the local administrative organization.

According to Suphanburi Governor Somsak Phurisrisak, Jaruek once told him last year that someone was plotting against him. The governor inferred that Jaruek might run into conflicts with local civil servants, businessman, or local authorities over his hard-hitting reports.

We view this shooting as another tantalizing incident that demoralises the media community since the gunman acted blatantly and premeditatedly and, yet, unperturbed by the rule of law. The killing is also aimed at stifling the media and eventually discouraging the media from reporting facts as in this case of Jaruek.

We at the same time urge the National Police Chief to quickly instruct police units concerned to bring the killers to justice and not to leave the case pending like many other cases in the past so that this killing will not set a precedent for others to further undermine the media freedom.

We also urge the police to report the progress in the investigation on this case to the public as soon as possible in order to restore public confidence in safety.

In addition to this, the police investigation into the killing Athiwat Chaiyanurat, Mathichon reporter for Nakorn Srithammarat who was shot dead almost two months now has shown no sign of progress, neither has the arrest of the gunmen.

Given this situation, TJA would like to appeal to the police to take a more serious attempt in pursuing Athiwat case and urge all parties to recognize the seriousness of this incident because killing of reporters whose duty are to report facts is equal to killing the facts that are supposed to benefit the public.